How To Eat Based on Your Sleep Chronotype

Among a lion, bear, wolf, or a dolphin, which one are you?

No, we’re not speaking about these animals by way of astrology (although a few of my fellow Leos might very effectively be a lion twice over) or an affinity for a given sports activities franchise. As an alternative, these are the 4 sleep chronotypes popularized by scientific psychologist Michael J. Breus, PhD, aka The Sleep Physician.

Forward, licensed pediatric and grownup sleep advisor and purposeful diagnostic vitamin practitioner Kelly Murray shares a number of dietary hacks for every sleep chronotype (discover a description of every one right here). Uncover how adopting the following pointers can assist you’re feeling extra energized and fewer fatigued all through the day, in addition to improve your social life and sleep high quality.

First, a recap on the sleep chronotype idea

With all this speak about chronotypes and random animals, maybe we’ve already misplaced you. ICYMI, chronotypes are the classification of the pure timing of your circadian rhythm. “Your circadian rhythm is your physique’s clock that dictates if you end up sleepy, alert, and hungry,” Murray says. “It additionally controls the timing of digestion, physique temperature, wound therapeutic, and extra.”

So the place do the aforementioned animals come into play? “We used to assume there have been solely two chronotypes—early birds and evening owls—however we all know people are way more sophisticated than that,” Murray says. She mentions that Dr. Breus expanded upon these two definitions and recognized 4 important chronotypes:

  • Lions (early risers)
  • Bears (who observe a typical photo voltaic schedule)
  • Wolves (evening owls)
  • Dolphins (insomniacs)

The extra you recognize about your sleep chronotype, the higher you may modify your way of life to align together with your physique’s pure rhythms—supporting every little thing from sleep and productiveness to your exercises and even your intercourse life. Since your circadian rhythm additionally informs how hungry you might be and when, you may modify your dietary habits based mostly in your chronotype that will help you really feel and performance your greatest. “By understanding your chronotype, you may learn to make minor changes to the timing of your meals and what varieties of meals you eat to maximise your power in the course of the day and sleep at evening,” Murray shares.

Uncertain of which sleep animal you might be? Take this chronotype quiz, then learn up on the dietary ideas beneath.

The right way to modify your food regimen to align together with your sleep chronotype


Lions are go-getting, productive early risers. They’re just about able to roar and slay the day as quickly as they hop off the bed, which tends to be within the wee hours of the morning. “Being a lion is a bonus, however it might probably wreak havoc in your social life,” Murray explains. That’s as a result of lions might burn out by the point they’re off the clock and should not have sufficient power within the night to see mates or be in peak form for date nights.

In the event that they need to sustain with their buddies or S/O after the solar units, Murray provides a number of suggestions particular to meals. “I like to recommend consuming a balanced lunch consisting of protein, wholesome fat, and complicated carbohydrates to stabilize their blood sugar and forestall an early night power crash,” she shares.

As well as, Murray says that lions could also be higher off limiting their consumption of carbs at dinnertime. “Carbohydrates promote serotonin, which turns into melatonin, aka the sleep hormone,” she notes.


Bears comprise about half of the inhabitants, which works to their benefit as the usual nine-to-five work schedule matches their chronotype greatest. Murray says that bears typically choose to begin their day with espresso, as they’re not as up and at ‘em upon waking as lions are usually. Nonetheless, ingesting espresso shortly after waking will be powerful on their adrenals, leaving them feeling jittery. “I like to recommend ready 90 minutes earlier than ingesting espresso, as that’s when their cortisol will naturally dip, giving them extra bang for his or her buck,” Murray says. (Tip: Take a look at Dr. Breus’s information to one of the best time to drink espresso, with recs for every sleep chronotype.)

Furthermore, bears might discover themselves liable to a late-afternoon hunch round 3 p.m. “They could seize a sugary snack to perk themselves up, resulting in a blood sugar [spike] and power crash later within the day,” says Murray. To higher maintain their power, she suggests taking a fast, brisk stroll outdoors as a substitute. “Train and sunshine will increase your cortisol ranges and provide the power increase you crave,” she explains. After all, bears can and may replenish on snacks to sustainably increase their power (assume: Greek yogurt and a banana).


Wolves are late to mattress and late to rise, they usually typically really feel most artistic and productive within the night. (FWIW, this wolf is presently typing away whereas most individuals have already completed their dinner.) In keeping with Murray, wolves typically lack an urge for food within the morning and often skip breakfast. “Nonetheless, in the event that they make an effort to eat a small balanced breakfast, the act of digesting meals will set off their physique to supply cortisol, giving them a burst of power,” she notes.

One other mealtime-specific hack for this chronotype: delaying dinner by a number of hours. Murray says that wolves who eat dinner within the early night—often to accommodate consuming with their members of the family—run the chance of waking up hungry in a while within the evening. This may be for no matter’s available and simple to accommodate their repair for a midnight snack. “Late-night consuming sparks digestion, which can make it more durable for them to go to sleep,” she explains. With that mentioned, Murray means that wolves eat dinner round 8 p.m. to maintain middle-of-the-night starvation pangs at bay and help optimum digestion and restful ZZZ’s.

P.S. A 2020 evaluate on chronotypes and dietary patterns just about confirms Murray’s insights on wolves to a T. Whereas the authors restrict findings to morning sorts and night sorts (versus particular animals), folks within the latter group usually tend to skip breakfast and eat further noshes at evening… and in addition eat a decrease quantity of fruits and veggies and like sugary fare. (My fellow wolves: I see you.)


Dolphins have erratic sleep schedules, and most frequently gained’t get the beneficial eight hours or so of shuteye per evening. “They’re perpetually drained so that they attain for espresso all day lengthy—however caffeine blocks adenosine, a chemical that inhibits mind perform and makes us drained,” Murray explains. Plus, consistently chasing a caffeine rush can perpetuate the cycle of sleepless nights. “To make sure that they metabolize all the caffeine they eat earlier than bedtime, dolphins ought to cease ingesting caffeine by midday,” she says.

“To make sure that they metabolize all the caffeine they eat earlier than bedtime, dolphins ought to cease ingesting caffeine by midday.”

Dolphins can also profit from tweaking what they select to eat at dinnertime. “To maintain their power ranges secure within the night, they need to eat starchy carbohydrates at dinner sparsely and eat a meal that consists of loads of protein and veggies as a substitute,” Murray says. Each of the following pointers can assist dolphins go to sleep at an applicable time and get up feeling extra rested.

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